Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Match Day 11: Cross Conference Game with a Shortened Lineup

After Saturday's game against Colorado was postponed, Sporting KC will try to get their eleventh game of the season in tomorrow night at Sporting Park against the New England Revolution.  This will be the only meeting between the two teams this year after they met three times last year, with the Revolution winning all three, including a 3-2 win last year at Sporting Park as KC slumped down the stretch.

New England come into tomorrow's game having drawn their last two league games, 2-2 in Orlando and 1-1 against Toronto, both times blowing leads to allow the opposing team to escape with points. Still, the Revolution are a strong team that will cause KC plenty of problems. Their attack is certainly one that KC can cause KC all sorts of problems with pace. From Charlie Davies and Juan Agudelo up top to Teal Bunbury and Diego Fagundez on the wing to Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe in midfield, the Revolution have a number of ways that they can cause KC problems on defense. Like KC though, they have what could be considered a more important game on the weekend when they're scheduled to host DC United in a battle for first place in the East. So while the Revolution won't lay down in KC, they may rest a couple of guys so that they are fresh for the weekend Conference game.

Right now KC wishes they could have the luxury of resting players for their weekend class against the Seattle Sounders. With all the injury news that came out today and the announcement that Saad Abdul-Salaam was recalled from his loan, KC will be lucky if they'll be able to dress a full 18 for the game tomorrow. With those injuries though, KC should only have to make two changes from the originally submitted lineup for the game against Colorado. Seth Sinovic is out as the team is treating the illness/injury that forced him to be a late scratch against Colorado as a potential concussion and he will miss out. The other is a change not forced by injury, but by national team duty, as Erik Palmer-Brown left for Australia to join the US U20 team in their preparations for this summer's U20 World Cup. Kevin Ellis is the obvious choice to slide back into the starting 11 at center back with Matt Besler.

Anibaba - Ellis - Besler - Dia
Feilhaber - Nagamura
Peterson - Dwyer - Nemeth

Number to Remember - 6 - That's how many points over the last two weeks these two teams have left on the table. KC's 1-1 draw with DC, while New England had the 2-2 draw with Orlando and 1-1 draw with Toronto.

Key Match Up - Matt Besler and Kevin Ellis vs Charlie Davies/Juan Agudelo - With the weekend game it's a little hard to predict who will be up top for New England, but both Davies and Agudelo will cause KC's back line plenty of problems. It'll be a big test especially on Ellis who will be looking to reestablish himself at the center back position after being disposed by Palmer-Brown before his departure.

PREDICTION - Both teams have games that more important on the weekend against conference rivals, so both likely will hold back just a little in tomorrow's game. For the game itself though, I just feel like even with an eye towards the weekend, New England just has too much attacking power either in the starting 11 or on the bench for KC's back line to really contain. This is going to have to be another game where the offense is really going to have to show up for KC to take points from this one, and I'm just not fully confident in the offense to do that yet.

SKC - 1 (Nemeth)
NE - 2 (Rowe, Bunbury)